Now celebrating over 30 years of publishing, our flagship publication, HOME SCHOOL DIGEST, has enjoyed a long history as the longest-running Christian homeschool magazine in print.
So much has changed in the last couple of decades, and yet, in so many ways, the basic issues are still the same. After 30+ years of homeschooling, I’ve noticed that the most common questions people ask regarding homeschooling are still the same now, as when we started, such as, “Is it legal?” and “What about socialization?” One major change we’ve seen is that almost everybody knows somebody who is homeschooling!
We’ve seen many of our country’s leaders reluctantly acknowledge and, even, officially proclaim, homeschooling as legitimate and acceptable. We’ve heard the testimonies of academic success resulting in student acceptance into the top institutions in our country. We’ve studied the statistics from several organizations which have conducted surveys that have proven our claims and solidified beliefs that homeschooling is methodologically superior to the classroom model of education.
On the other hand, we’ve also seen far too many families “try to homeschool” and fail miserably. We’ve heard countless excuses as to why some parents “could never homeschool” their children. We’ve witnessed the anguish of parents who report that although they homeschooled their children through grades K-12, the children grew up and left home, (not necessarily in that order) in open rebellion.
So, why is this? Doesn’t the Bible promise that if we “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”? (Proverbs 22:6)
I’ve come to realize that the key contingency to this promise does not lie solely in where the training takes place but, rather, in the direction (the way) and the purpose (in which he should go) of the training. The scope of the homeschool lifestyle, and the focus of the ultimate goal, is what determines which direction the child will take. If a child seems to be “heading off in the wrong direction,” or departing from the way he should go, the responsible parent will diligently examine, in the clear light of God’s Word, the breadth and direction of the path on which they have allowed, or even encouraged, the child to walk. (Matthew 7:13,14)
The truth of the matter is, there is a vast difference in motivation, approach and end-results among homeschool families.
There are those who, driven by their overall disdain for authority, and carried away by the spirit of rebellion which so dominates our society, have given full reign to their desire for autonomy by subtly masking their unbridled independence under the guise of homeschooling. In the process, these folks have merely taken convenient advantage of the growing cultural acceptance of homeschooling and jumped on the bandwagon of popularity surrounding the contemporary homeschool movement. They’ve dutifully noted the homeschool laws in their state and taken the necessary precautions (whether by actual compliance or through the purchase of “legal insurance”). They’ve insisted that the government has no business involving itself in the education of children, and then run the gamut of double-mindedness by lobbying for “permission” to homeschool “legally,” or demanding that the government fund their children’s education through vouchers, or cater to their perceived “right” to have their children participate in music, sports and other “benefits” of government programs. They’ve eagerly grabbed their ever-expanding discount homeschool catalog and dashed off to the nearest curriculum fair in search of that elusive math/science/phonics program that offers the highest guarantee of mastery with the least amount of effort (and money).
They’ve joined the local support group after carefully studying the “statement of faith” to make sure they won’t be forced to experience interaction with anyone who holds a different point of view. They’ve gone on all the field trips and kept their children immersed in the various social activities of the local culture so that they will easily fit in with their peers in the “real world.” The fathers avoid involvement as much as possible and magnanimously proclaim that if “mom wants to homeschool,” they “won’t interfere,” and the mothers hang out on the phone, or cruise the internet looking for chat sessions that focus on the subject of “burnout” while they live for the monthly “moms night out.”
I realize that we are rocking somebody’s boat here, but I’ve seen too many families needlessly shipwrecked and desperately flailing around in the perilous waters of adversity, or hopelessly carried off by the swift and deadly current of popular culture.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who, recognizing their citizenship in a Kingdom that is not of this world, have simply made the commitment to teach and train their own children (regardless of the cost) out of a heart of obedience born of conviction that homeschooling is the method mandated by God to be implemented according to God’s expressed standard of measure and the Biblical model of discipleship. These faithful families are beginning to reap the blessed fruit of righteousness and holiness as they continue to teach their children, by their own Godly example, to humbly work out their salvation with fear and trembling for the Glory of God.
Both approaches/outcomes to homeschooling prove the truth of God’s Word & a child will not depart from the way of the path on which he has been trained. So, you see, you don’t have to wonder how things will turn out with your family a few years down the road. If you want to know the certain outcome of your homeschooling, you must ask yourself a few simple questions. Which kind of homeschooler am I? Who am I most afraid of offending — God, or the State? By whose standards do I measure myself and my children? In which direction is my homeschooling aimed? Am I moving toward the world, or away from it?
By the grace of God, we here at Wisdom’s Gate are committed to continue to challenge and encourage our readers through our publications and seminars …to bring home education to its proper place under the Headship and Authority of our LORD …to live in complete surrender to His will, and to seek, in all ways, to obey God rather than men …to come out from the world and be truly separate — a Holy people set apart for His use, who have consecrated their lives, and their children, for His eternal purpose and Glory.
Skeet Savage is a veteran homeschooling mother of six (now all homeschool graduates) grown children–and is now a grandmother many times over, the founder of Wisdom’s Gate Ministries and the Senior Editor of Home School Digest, An Encouraging Word and Overcoming Life. She is a featured speaker at the Wisdom’s Gate Seminars, & author of the book, Homeschooling For Eternity. Above all, Skeet Savage is simply: The Lord’s Servant!